Carl Spetzler


Dr. Carl Spetzler co-founded Strategic Decisions Group in 1981 and currently serves as chairman. He is a leader in strategy and innovation processes, helping corporate leaders cope with the lack of explicit strategic alternatives, deal with the complexities of uncertainty and risk over long time horizons, and achieve lasting change. Over the past three decades, he has worked with top management and boards of directors to improve the quality of decisions and decision-making processes in many diverse organizations, such as capital-intensive companies, financial institutions, high-technology manufacturers, and systems businesses. His guidance has led to innovative results such as developing revolutionary new products, redirecting and restructuring major corporations, and creating strategic alliances.

Beginning in 2006, Dr. Spetzler launched the first Strategic Decision and Risk Management certificate program in partnership with Stanford University’s Center for Professional Development. The program at Stanford was concluded in 2017, and in that year, two new university partnerships were announced: with Texas Executive Education at The University of Texas, and with the Wharton School. Dr. Spetzler frequently speaks at executive retreats, seminars, and conferences. He is the lead author of Decision Quality: Value Creation from Better Business Decisions (Wiley, 2016) with coauthors Hannah Winter and Jennifer Meyer.

Before co-founding SDG, Dr. Spetzler directed the Financial Industries and Strategic Methodologies Center at SRI International. While there, he led a consulting engagement that changed the landscape of American financial services. Dr. Spetzler and the SRI team persuaded Merrill Lynch that the time was right to offer a one-stop financial service, called the Cash Management Account (CMA). Although Merrill Lynch initially resisted such a sweeping and unsettling change, it pursued the opportunity and by the mid-1980s, more than 1 million customers used CMAs.

Dr. Spetzler received an MBA and a PhD in economics and business administration and BS in chemical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He serves on the boards of IIT and the Decision Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the decision-making skills of youth. In 2004, Dr. Spetzler received The Ramsey Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Decision Analysis Society of INFORMS for lifetime contributions to the field. In 2006, he was elected to the SRI Hall of Fame for his leadership in the growth of decision analysis at SRI and for his key role in developing the Cash Management Account. In 2008, Dr. Spetzler was named by Treasury & Risk magazine one of the 100 most influential people in finance for his work in enterprise risk management. He is based in the firm’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.